Thursday, April 2, 2009

Retro Review: Zero Hour #4-0(Sept 1994)

Yes, #4-0. DC released this series starting at #4 and ending in #0.

Overall- I actually finished this series up last night, but figured I'd give myself a few hours to digest what I read before posting my thoughts. Why do this, you ask? Because initially after finishing this series, I was VERY unimpressed. So, after sleeping on it, attending some classes today, and returning home, I have to admit, I'm STILL rather unimpressed with this series as a whole. It wasn't as bad as I originally thought, but this comic definitely missed the mark for me.

For anyone not in the know, Zero Hour chronicles Hal Jordan, now calling himself Parallax, deciding that basically this universe sucks and that he can create a much better one. In order to do this, Hal uses the villain Extant as his cohort, as well as the brainwashed members of the Team Titans(the less said about them, the better)to help him attain his goals. Hal eliminates other time-travellers, and absorbs vast amounts of chronal energy in order to destroy the current DCU and create his new DCU, one where Coast City is never destroyed, and other "injustices" are eliminated. Ultimately, Hal is engaged in battle with the Spectre, who doesn't take kindly to Hal destroying the universe, as well as a hand picked group of heroes, who should be capable of undoing the damage Hal has wreaked.

The end for Hal comes when he kills an alternate version of Batgirl and Hal's longtime friend, Green Arrow decides he has no choice but to put Hal down. After Hal is virtually powerless after battling the Spectre, Kyle Rayner grabs Hal from behind, and GA shoots Hal through the chest with an arrow, which(I think)kills him. The problem now is that time has been, for lack of a better term, f###ed up by Hal's meddling, so with the help of Damage(?!?), Waverider manages to recreate the Big Bang, restarting the universe. Waverider waits until the moment right before Hal destroys the universe and merges him with the dead future Hal, which prevents Hal from destroying the universe in the first place(or something like that).

Damn, this series was confusing with a capital C! It's important to note that my knowledge of the DCU of the 90's isn't all that great, BUT I do have a decent understanding of the 90's DCU. Still, I was lost through most of this series. Then again, any series that has time travel in it usually confuses the hell out of me, so there's that as well. While I didn't particularly care much for the story, some of the visuals were pretty good. Hal knocking Superman out with one punch is awesome, and the final confrontation between Ollie and Hal was also cool. Like I said many times before, I didn't follow DC comics until just last year, so I'm not really sure editorially why Zero Hour occurred. I guess DC wanted to get Hal out of the way, but what a lousy, unheroic way to go. The JSA was aged to their proper ages(which for most of them was in their 70's), and I can't even begin to figure out what the hell was going on with Hawkman... Then there was the just plain strange stuff that went on. The Flash(Wally West)was killed off in like the first issue of this series and never came back. Kyle Rayner also died and according to Waverider, Kyle was dead and couldn't come back... Huh? But Kyle and Wally both had ongoing titles that never missed a beat(as far as I know). How the hell did they come back to life? If anyone could answer that, I'd greatly appreciate it. If not, I'll have to hunt down comics from around that time to find out just what happened.

It also didn't help that although Hal was obviously the "bad guy" here, I could totally understand and accept his motivations. Was what Hal was attempting to do really THAT evil an act? Sure, he destroyed the entire universe, but he was going to recreate it and perhaps make it even better. I just had such a hard time seeing Hal as the villain here. In a warped way, Hal's actions were kind of noble. The one super-positive thing that came from Zero Hour is the first appearance of Jack "Starman" Knight in ZH #1. That was a welcome sight. Besides that, reading Zero Hour left me with more questions than answers, which is never a good thing. For a score, I'll go with a middling 5 1/2 out of 10. Zero Hour was an OK read, but I just felt like I was missing something here...


  1. Hal was actually inhabited by Parallax, an energy being, that no one realized until later. He called himself Parallax, but that was just the being that had taken him over. Parallax also inhabited Kyle for a short while a few years after that. Later Parallax was captured, while seperate from any hosts, and now is held within the Power Battery on OA. But yes, it all was a bit confusing.

  2. The Hal/Parallax thing was one of the few things I actually did understand about this series. I totally understand why DC made it that it was Parallax as the villain and not Hal. Having Hal murder the ENTIRE universe and then bringing him back later as a hero would be a tough sell!